Raving madness

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Local party promoters felt a collective chill last week when President George “I’m not a real fighter pilot but I play one on TV” Bush signed into law what’s commonly known as the RAVE Act.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, allows law enforcement to hold promoters/ planners personally responsible for drug use at their events, including concerts, marijuana rallies, political protests, parties, sporting events, etc. The “Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act” expands existing law to include rented or temporary properties and one-time events; violators can face prison or fines of $250,000, or twice the gross revenue of the event, whichever is greater.

Last year, Biden’s measure — then dubbed the Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act — targeted raves and Ecstasy use. It failed following protests around the country, including a rave in front of the White House. This year, the renamed measure was expanded to include a wider range of events. A joint committee of senators and reps added the drug bill to the very popular Amber Alert bill designed to help retrieve kidnapped children.

When the Amber Alert bill hit Congress, members couldn’t change it, which meant they had to approve the attached drug bill or vote the whole thing down.

“Anybody who’s involved in public assembly has cause for concern,” says Jon Ozias, whose company, blackbx, throws electronic music events. Theoretically, local governments could use the law to crack down on any activity they don’t like, “simply because the police found a kid in the bathroom doing drugs,” says Ozias. But Jason Huvaere, party promoter and owner of paxahau.com, has a more optimistic outlook, saying he’s hopeful the law will be enforced fairly. “This thing is designed to shut down the totally shady, illegitimate promoters. It’s a mask to flush out the chumps. It comes down to safety.”

News Hits wonders whether Kilpatrick should be worried. The city has a role in the big electronic music festival being held in Hart Plaza, and if past events are any indication, more than a few hits of Ecstasy will be consumed there on Memorial Day weekend.

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Since 1980, Metro Times has been Detroit’s premier alternative source for news, arts, culture, music, film, food, fashion and more from a liberal point of view.
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